Wednesday 2 December 2015


I have previously written about activity trackers, devices which you can use to track your fitness and general activity. The market has now moved on to integrate this technology into wearables. These are traditionally watch like devices that have technology embedded in them to communicate with your smart phone. The Apple Watch was released in April this year and has set the trend for fashionable wearable technology. The touch screen face is in a rectangular shape and there is a button and rotary knob on the side.  There are many choices of bands to suit your style and these are easily interchanged. In terms of functionality, the Apple Watch can provide all your smartphone notifications to your wrist, which is convenient as long as you customise the settings so you are not constantly bombarded with irrelevant email notifications. You can also read your messages and emails on your the device. as well as take phone calls Dick Tracy style as the Watch includes speakers and a microphone. You will need to be in bluetooth range of your phone for this functionality to work though. The Apple Watch retails from $799 to over $1600 depending on the model and accessories chosen.

Samsung have released their second iteration of smart watches with the Gear S2. This has a more traditional round watch face which I prefer the look of. It is probably suited to a male wearer as it is sizeable, equivalent to a sports watch. I had a look at one of these when I was passing through Singapore recently. I really liked the way the screen could be flipped though using the rotating bezel on the outside of the watch face. It is an elegant design feature. The screen is also touch operated and shows the usual notifications, much like the Apple Watch. Unlike the Apple Watch the Gear S2 is not able to make or take calls directly but it can notify you who is calling and allow you to reject the call or send a preset text message. The device is IP68 certified which means it is dust and water resistant up to 1.5m, but I would not be taking it for a swim any time soon. Integration with the Samsung fitness app provides a wealth of fitness metrics too. The device charges on a wireless dock which is a neat feature. The Gear S2 retails from $499.
If you want a wearable that is not brand specific you can look at the Android Wear, which is compatible with all Android phones. Traditional watch brands like Tag Heuer are realising that they need to adapt to the changing market and have started to develop smart watches too. There are also a number of cheaper wearables on the market but features will vary along with the price and these may leave a bad impression due to their limitations.